Almond pine cone cheese balls are delicious appetizers that we usually make with cream cheese and mayonnaise, for the end-of-the-year holidays. Like other cheese appetizers, almond pine cones are served with crackers, bread sticks or toasted bread slices. The original recipe is made with any type of cream cheese, blended with a slight amount of mayonnaise, and flavored with seasoning or fresh herbs.
– 1 package of cream cheese.
– ½ cup of mayonnaise.
– 1 tbsp of olive oil.
– Fresh rosemary springs.
– 1 cup of crispy bacon pieces.
– 2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley.
– 2 tbsp of freshly chopped leeks.
– Almonds or sliced almonds “or pecans”.
There are different derivatives that I personally tried and loved much. For example, I like making pine cones with cheese and mashed potatoes, as they make it easier to shape the balls, in addition to the better taste. I once tried smoked turkey, shrimp and smoked tuna! Can’t tell you how delighted I felt with the smoky taste, and the shrimp made it an excellent appetizer. All you need is to prepare the smoked slices or cooked shrimp and process with your favorite additions until the mixture is soft. Onion and garlic powder are good, and for fresh herbs you may add parsley or leeks.
Some people like to mix crispy bacon or grilled chicken; and both are really great. But the greatest hit for this recipe is adding fruits, raisins or whatever sweet taste to slightly sneak into your mouth and fill you with delight.
Once you decide on which ingredients to use, prepare your food processor, a suitable bowl and serving platter. Make sure to decide if you’re serving toasted bread or crackers.
In case of crackers, reduce the amount of salty ingredients and add some cranberries while shaping the balls.
– In the food processor, mix the ingredients with seasoning and fresh herbs, letting the cheese aside.
– When you obtain a soft blend, transfer it to the bowl and then mix the cheese and mayonnaise until well blended.
– Transfer the cheese in the bowl and mix with other ingredients with a spatula until all are softened.
– Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for a few hours before using.
– For serving, remove the cling film, bring the serving platter and rub your hands with 1 tbsp of olive oil to ease shaping the balls.
– Place the ball/balls carefully on the platter and gently start pressing the almonds until they stick on the balls forming the pine cone shape.
– Arrange the crackers or bread pieces, garnish with fresh rosemary or thyme springs and serve.